As I transition to the basement, an interesting phenomenon has struck me: my bedtime routine. It used to be simple enough – 10 PM, kids in their beds, Carrie and I in our bed: twenty minutes of the 10 O’clock news culminating in the five day forecast (Paul Simon did once write “I get all the news I need on the weather report”) and lights out. There were of course variations but those pale next to the regularity of the routine.
Now I find myself in the basement, frequently before 10 PM. I may have already said my good nights or maybe a brief climb up the steps for the children, but always back to the basement, back to the bed that looks so big for one. And I hesitate – one more e-mail, one more anything. Now I would like to say that my g-mail box is bursting at the seams, a proverbial full dance card. It is not. So it is shortly after 10, the e-mails are answered, the eyelids are drooping, but oh that empty bed.
My fingers dance on the keyboard – there are so many places to go: the standards, Gay.com or Craig’s List and the new ones: Queerclick.com or Squirt.org. Pictures to see, free video trailers to tease and IM’ing – a tough one for this old guy. There are people looking to do things – “bad” enticing things. But it is late, I am in the basement, there is a front door which is still “ours”, not “mine”. So I read and gaze, my hands may dance on more than the keyboard and eventually there is bed, the comfort of sleep.
But I wonder, what if? What if I was in an apartment, what if there was the chance to hook-up one of those nights. Would I leave it as a tease or would I venture out? And if I did venture out how would I feel afterwards? Excited, gratified, sated or would it just be a further reminder of the strange land of being alone, a place I am just not used to.
The basement is an anchor and an anchor can be a stabilizing force, one that keeps us grounded, one that keeps us from drifting aimlessly with each passing current. But an anchor can also be a weight, one that keeps us from exploring, from continuing a journey.
For me, I see it as the former, a steadying force, one that will force me to continue to explore my gayness in healthy outlets, not the semi-anonymous hookups I have been leaving behind. But when I look at my bed at 10 PM tonight, my empty bed, when I bask in the soft blue glow of my computer screen, when I find myself on those websites....